Games Workshop explains why those ‘Optional Rules’ should be considered for your next Matched Play event and which rules you can skirt by without.
Age of Sigmar Second Edition has seen a restructuring of the points and rules for many armies. From Summoning changes, to new Endless Spells to new units and more – lots of things have shifted around for the better. In fact, Age of Sigmar is in a stronger spot that it has been in a long while in terms of competitive play and that’s in no small part to the changes in Matched Play.
But let’s not kid ourselves, not everyone agrees on which rules that aren’t “core rules” we should use for Matched Play. That’s okay – people have different tastes and can ultimately play the game how they want as long as their opponent is on the same page…unless it’s a Tournament. And that’s when things can get tricky. As we’ve said before: Check with your Tournament Organizer FIRST. Ideally, they will have a rules packet that explains their tournament and which ‘Optional Rules’ will be enforced and which ones you can skip. It’s their tournament and you should respect their authority as the TO.
That said, Games Workshop has some new guidelines and makes a pretty strong case as to why you should include those ‘Optional Rules’ in your Matched Play Tournaments. And because they brought in the Designers to talk about why…it’s kind of hard to argue against their reasoning.
Which Rules Are ‘Optional’
Before we get too much further, we need to establish what we are talking about with the ‘Optional Rules’ – it’s pretty simple:
“We’ll take it as a given that you’ll be using the core game rules and any rules that appear on warscrolls that have Pitched Battle Profiles. However, this still leaves quite a lot of rules that in normal play can be used or not as the players wish (which we’ll call ‘optional rules’ from now on in this article).”
That leaves quite a few rules in that ‘Optional’ pile, doesn’t it. Things like Pitched Battle Rules, Warscroll Battalions, Allegiance Abilities, etc. Thankfully GW has a list of recommended rules which we’ll get to – but it’s the WHY we’re more interested in.
First off, GW does recommend using the Realm of Battle Rules as well as the Malign Sorcery rules. Those add a TON of things to the game and are a lot to digest for players – but they have a pretty good reason for their inclusion:
- “…the Pitched Battle Profiles in our publications, and more specifically the points values in the profiles, assume those rules are being used.”
Yep – the points of the units reflect using those rules. Without them, some units will seem over or undercosted. That’s also addressed with their next point:
- “…when the Realm of Battle rules are used, players soon learn that it is in their best interests to leave the more extreme builds at home and take a more balanced force instead.”
By playing with the Realm of Battle Rules the “extreme builds” don’t work as effectively as they do without them. One example they called out specifically is “gunline” style armies. Realm of Battle Rules can really mess with visibility and while those units are slightly cheaper on paper, their effectiveness is greatly reduced on the tabletop (hence the ‘cheap’ points cost). But without that chance of reduced visibility you’re left with a gunline unit that’s just cheaper than it should be.
Where You Battle Matters
One thing to note is that there are LOT of Realm of Battle rules and it can be confusing for players to know what to do or what those rules are – and how do you determine them anyway? Well thankfully GW has thought of that too:
“…we’d recommend that tournament organisers announce which battleplan, realm and realmscape features will be used in all of the battles in a round, either for all rounds when the players arrive at the event, or about 15 minutes or so before each round is due to begin. “
This solves a lot of the problem of players picking battleplans that suit their armies. Randomized or not, the TO should decide for the rounds ahead. We can get behind that!
So having said all that – here are GW’s Organized Play Rules Guidelines:
So what do you think? Would you use these guidelines for YOUR Matched Play event?